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Obituary: Helen Dyson

Great-grandmother was 100 years old

Helen Ramp was born in September 1921 in Ontario, California to a family that included parents Arthur and Lella Ramp and brother Leland.

Helen attended Ontario schools, graduating from Chaffey High School in 1940, where she was the president of the Girls League, YWCA president, active in the Girls Athletic Association, and especially enjoyed basketball.

She graduated from Chaffey College in 1942 and then went to work in the shipping department at Sunkist Products in Ontario. In 1946, her brother Leland, by then a major in the U.S. Army Air Corps, was reported missing over the Pacific Ocean, and later declared dead.

Later that year she met Fred Dyson. They were married in 1947 and had three children: Linda, Larry and Jerry.

In 1956 the family moved to Claremont. She was involved with PTA, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts and Little League for all the years her children were young. As the children grew she eventually took a part-time job at Claremont Unified School District working in the cafeterias at Oakmont Elementary School and Claremont High, a position that allowed her to work around her children’s schedules and be home when they were.

In September 1968, her husband Fred died of cancer after a very short illness. The next year, to the month, her middle son Larry was killed in a car accident.

After settling a bit she began a career working in the admissions office at Pomona College, where she became interested in Sage Hen athletics, especially women’s basketball. She made many friends over those years that she stayed in touch with throughout her life.

During this time her granddaughter Courtney came to live with her while going to El Roble Intermediate and Claremont High schools. “Granny” became involved in CHS and cheerleading activities up through Courtney’s graduation in 1986.

After retiring from Pomona College, she became active with Meals on Wheels, The Economy Shop, the American Legion Auxiliary and the Friends of Oak Park Cemetery. She also served on the reunion committee at Chaffey High through the group’s 70th celebration.

In addition she traveled with friends and family, always had a dog or two, and was busy with neighborhood friends. For several years she was raising desert tortoises and giving detailed instructions on their care. Several recipients still have those “babies.”

Over the years Courtney added three great grandchildren to the family, which delighted her no end.

She lived an active and happy life, and in 2018 became a permanent resident of Pilgrim Place Health Services. While there she had a wonderful roommate, Marjory, and the two became close sisters to each other.

In September 2021, with the help of Pilgrim Place staff, the family was able to have a very special garden gathering for her 100th birthday.

She leaves her daughter Linda Dyson Sheldon (Ted), of Claremont; son Jerry Dyson (Davonna) of Ontario; granddaughter Courtney Stoneking (Michael); great-grandchildren Blythe, of Austin, and Dominic and Aayla, of Ontario; and many friends who will miss her deeply.

The family wishes to thank the staff at Pilgrim Place Health Services for her wonderful care over the years.

Private services will be held at a future date.

Donations in Helen Dyson’s name may be made to The Friends of Oak Park Cemetery at http://oakparkcemeteryfriends.org, or by check to P.O. Box 274, Claremont, CA 91711, or to a charity of your choice.

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